Contributed by: Douglas Bwire
The importance of Landcare in making a difference towards achieving land degradation and neutrality was a key topic at the recent 7th Biennial Landcare Conference in Kimberly, South Africa. Held 3–6 October, the meeting was convened by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) in collaboration with the Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development. With support from DAFF, the Africa Landcare Network (ALN) has scaled up the Landcare approach in the region over the past five years, translating to positive outcomes within member countries.
Co-chairs of ALN, Lydia Bosoga and Joseph Tanui during a panel session
Bringing together various partners from Africa, the meeting provided a platform to showcase strategies and success stories in addressing land degradation challenges in South Africa. Greater attention during the ALN side event was placed on resource mobilization towards developing a regional Landcare programme in the Southern Africa States, and some of the resolutions raised include:
- Continue reaching out to other countries in Africa through partnerships and Landcare capacity building events;
- Create awareness of the role of the Landcare approach in achieving pertinent issues in the global agenda such as meeting country level targets on land restoration and land degradation neutrality;
- Position the Landcare approach as the best option currently for scaling-out sustainable livelihood interventions;
- Give special focus and support to regional and national level Landcare networks through fundraising at regional and country level, awareness creation and partnership development, and documentation and dissemination of lessons;
- Make more spirited efforts towards the development and realization of the “Green belt in the Southern Africa states” through enhanced fundraising and awareness creation by 2017;
- Landcare focal points to continue taking the lead in mainstreaming the approach in country programs and projects;
- Provide support and attendance to the Landcare Master class which will be held in Zambia in December 2016;
- Continue to support awareness creation and partnerships through side events in major conferences and meetings;
- Members to continue with regular cost-effective meetings and teleconferences at least on a quarterly basis.
Given the encouraging feedback received at this meeting, the Landcare team will be working together to ensure the momentum generated and resolutions suggested, strengthen the network as well as the Landcare approach, as a means of achieving the restoration agenda.